When Florida medical practices talk about snowbirds, they aren’t talking ornithology. They are referring to the large subset of patients who spend the winter in the Sunshine State and scoot back North in the spring. Such patients pose one of the thorniest problems in medicine because keeping track of their health — from the specialists they have seen to whatever medications they are taking — can be a real challenge.
Dr. Martha R. Rodriguez used to have nightmares. Except she had them during the day. At the office.
“We were inundated with lists from the insurance companies,” said Dr. Rodriguez, founder of MMR Healthcare in Boynton Beach, Florida. “Every day we would get a new list — these patients have missing eye exams, these patients are missing mammograms.”
Dr. Rodriguez admits that her knee would sometimes shake when she was faced with yet another list of patients who were out of compliance with recommended exams, because she knew that the data on those lists were sometimes 90 to 120 days out of date.